This evening at 8pm BBC Radio 4 runs a 40 minute documentary on the Israeli secret service Mossad.
Details of the programme, presented by BBC Security Correspondent Gordon Corera, can be found here.
This evening at 8pm BBC Radio 4 runs a 40 minute documentary on the Israeli secret service Mossad.
Details of the programme, presented by BBC Security Correspondent Gordon Corera, can be found here.
Lobster is the UK's longest running parapolitical magazine. This is its 59th issue, a magnificent achievement.
This is the second issue that has appeared only as an on-line download, as opposed to its traditional printed format. Whilst understanding many of the editor's reasons for switching to that format, it is disappointing to see that an early problem has not been ironed out.
Unfortunately the on-line magazine is not published in the same layout as the old hard copy. This means that instead of the old style two columns of A4, you get a single large font column spread out over hundreds of pages. The volume of paper and ink required to print this out mitigates against doing so for most people - unless I suspect they have access to a work printer!
If Lobster is to be on-line, is it too much trouble for it to be on-line in its old format?
This story comes courtesy of the blog of Ted Jeory, the former East London Advertiser editor, who has now gone down in the world and is Whitehall Editor of the Daily Express.
Terry Fitzpatrick is a well known figure in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, be it for his past work on the Blair Peach case, for Searchlight, his letters to the Hackney Gazette or his on-line posting on blogs such as Socialist Unity and Harry's Place. According to Jeory, Fitzpatrick was arrested by the Met on May 5, following a complaint from Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote.
On June 8 Fitzpatrick appeared at Thames Magistrates Court charged with racially aggravated harassment.
Given this case is on-going, I have disabled comments, but will enable them when it has reached its conclusion.
There is a truly dreadful article in support of Diane Abbott's decision to send her son to a private school on Socialist Unity.
Having lectured others including Tony Blair on the issue in the past, and complained of racism when it came to the education of black boys in London, Abbott was widely seen as hypocrite when she sent her son to a private school, despite predictable attempts to play the race card in her own defence.
That the Socialist Unity blog should make excuses for Ms Abbott is perhaps consistent with the identity politics that have dominated that blog for some years. Put simply, Abbott's many faults are to be ignored as she is the only black and female candidate for Labour leadership.
The editor of Socialist Unity, Andy Newman, has the habit of deleting my posts on his blog, citing potential libel. This has happened to posts I have made pointing out that Searchlight editor Nick Lowles once smuggled a hidden camera into a Yorkshire Anti-Fascist Action meeting, with the footage then appearing in a hostile World In Action documentary. The second instance was when I pointed out that one of the financiers of the Respect Party, Dr Mohammed Nassem of Birmingham Central Mosque, has distributed anti-semitic DVD's about the 7/7 attacks around the mosque.
Of these two incidents the first is pretty easy to prove - only one person at the AFA meeting went on to subsequently work on a series of documentaries with - World In Action. Nick Lowles. I am expecting the issue will be covered in some detail in the forthcoming book on Anti-Fascist Action by members of the Red Action group. As for the second, it was aired on the BBC's conspiracy files series. Dr Naseem did not sue them. Newman's actions are more about censoring critical political opinions that he cannot answer, especially when they expose the weakness of his own political circles. Just in case he deletes my comment from the thread on Abbott linked to above, here it is:
Andy Newman: “Well what is your explanation for the preference among many better off BAME parents for private schools?”
Paul Stott: That middle and upper class people from ethnic minorities are very similar to middle and upper class white people. They use their wealth to cement their advantages and to the exclusion of those without their privileges. It’s called class society Andy, and before you drowned in the liberalism of identity politics, you were still able to recognise it.
Sadly that is not a question likely to be answered by the BBC Security Correspondent Gordon Corera, who has been allowed into Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) at Cheltenham.
You can hear his programme GCHQ Cracking The Code on Radio 4 at 5pm today. Here's one tip Gordon - they will only give away the information to you that they want to be made public. To find out more, you will need to do some ........ investigative journalism.
Firstly an interesting letter has appeared concerning Officer A, or Peter Daley as he was known to his friends in Militant/YRE.
Secondly a major moral issue emerges here when you have a man infiltrating an organisation and entering into sexual relationships with young women, who presumably would not have touched him with a barge pole had they known what his job really was.
Thirdly in terms of a strict cost benefit analysis, the police operation appears to have been a nonsense. Placing someone full time in an organisation for three years appears to have led to little or no arrests never mind major convictions. The revelation that this agents ‘intelligence’ alerted the police to the scale of the Welling demonstration is far from convincing - the world and his dog knew many activists had only one intention that day - to shut down the BNP bookshop - for good. In Class War we reproduced the Anti-Nazi League flyer for the march, changing the words "Close Down The BNP" to "Burn Down The BNP" - plenty of similar literature existed at the time.
What the issue really is about then is Youth Against Racism In Europe’s politics, and those of the various civil rights type groups Officer A also looked into. Here little or no criminal offences are being committed. Instead these groups wish to expose police malpractice, racism or incompetence. Such inflitration looks far more like the police covering their arses than doing anything positive to protect the public. As the old cliche goes, they should be out arresting real criminals.
Finally it is worth noting that the left itself brings some of these problems upon itself - through its guillibility and niavete. Following the Welling riot World in Action attempted a particularly scurrilous expose of the revolutionary left, which included footage from inside an Anti Fascist Action meeting, where individuals appeared to be discussing committing criminal acts. How did they get this footage? Nick Lowles, now editor of Searchlight, filmed it secretly and gave it to them. Red Action give a summary of the conduct of Searchlight in the anti-fascist movement here.
If much of the left cannot even face facts about Searchlight, what hope is there of spotting the likes of Officer A?
News of police infiltration and targetting of activists in Youth Against Racism in Europe in the 1990s, using a body called the Special Demonstration Squad.
The most interesting issue here is of course the 1993 Welling riot. At that demonstration police halted the crowd at the top of a hill, before launching a series of baton charges into demonstrators. As few armies in history have won a battle fighting up hill, it was seen at the time as pre-empting violence so the police could have a riot on their terms, not the demonstrators.
Perhaps the evidence of 'Officer A' rather confirms this? Where it leaves those convicted of committing criminal offences in those baton charges is of course another matter..............
Browsing over at the Lionheart blog, the waters appear to be getting ever muddier in English Defence League circles.
It is hard not to collapse into paroxysms of laughter however at the blog's interview by Michael Ryan of Paul Ray. Over the years some pretty inaccurate statements have been made about Antifa, but I never thought I would read this:
"Everyone knows Antifa? Antifa is the extreme left wing anarchist movement aligned to militant Islam. In 2006 I infiltrated their training ground in
The first action Antifa did in England was a demonstration against both the National Front and Al Mujihiroun in Traflagar Square in 2004. Several groups were present that day - a big gang of Sikhs from west London who had come to fight Al Mujihiroun, and the United British Alliance. They claimed to be opposed to racism and held a separate event away from the National Front, (does this remind you of anyone?) but oddly enough shouted 'race traitors' at the Antifa contingent. Antifa took great pleasure in replying with cries of "You fat bastard" at one particular Sumo look a like in the UBA contingent!
At one of the first meetings Antifa held in London, Morris Beckman, a founder of the jewish 43 Group of post war anti-fascists, addressed the audience. Not bad for an organisation with Islamist masters!
Who is paying Paul Ray to come up with such fantastical garbage? Or is he so delusional he actually makes this stuff up himself?
The French academic Gilles Kepel gave four lectures to the LSE in late 2009 and early 2010 on the subjects of Islamism in Europe, Jihad, and US foreign policy in the Middle East.
I was lucky enough to make all four (for those who were there I was the big bald guy in lecture three who Kepel mocked mercilessly for my pathetic French pronounciations when asking him about the origins of the term Londonistan) Some of the themes Kepel discussed have been combined in this article "French Lessons In Londonistan" which I recommend.
Reading through it, the article does not contain Kepel's marvellous line that multi-culturalism is simply a politically term for communalism, but the gist of his thought is clear.
The FBI has been rightly panned for basing a 2010 age progressed image of Osama Bin Laden on Gaspar Llamazares, a Spanish Communist.
But surely they should have based their projection on Yorkshire gun nut and BNP 'gold member' Terence Gavan? Check these images out.
For those who are confused, the man in the first picture is an obsessive narrow minded bigot who wanted to kill lots of people, whilst the man in the second picture is an obsessive narrow minded bigot who has killed lots of people.
Osama Bin Laden does have a bigger head though.
Yesterday I was invited to pen a little piece on Harry's Place about the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Moazzam Begg, who is currently working closely with Amnesty International.
I have real concerns about this. You can read the article here.
JFK assassination buffs have long been fascinated by one of the most curious aspects of the life of his alleged assassin - Lee Harvey Oswald.
Several fishy trails exist of someone who resembles Oswald, or someone using his name and/or variations of his name. This continued right up to JFK and Oswald's deaths - for example the much debated visits to the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City in 1963. JFK researchers have even speculated that the Warren Commission combined the life stories of two men to form its information on just who Lee Harvey Oswald was.
It is entertaining to come across a modern version of the multiple Oswalds.
For some time now various Americans have stepped forward to claim that the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was amongst the Iranian students in charge of the hostage taking of some 400 Americans at the US embassy in Tehran from 1979-81.
We now have a British version of this, with a story emerging in November that Ahmadiejad was part of a group of Iranian consulate staff who severely beat-up Iranian exiles in London in 1984. They had broken into the Consulate to protest about the on-going campaign of executions in their country. An interview with an activist who was involved in that campaign can be found here.
One obvious problems exist with the embassy Ahmadinejad's. In both cases, witnesses are being asked to compare someone who is frequently in the news today, with someone they may have seen in the flesh some 25 to 30 years ago. No easy task.
Add to this the political background, where those wishing to isolate Iran internationally and to portray its President in the worst possible light, have an added incentive to blacken Ahmadinejad's CV.
So - where will Mr Ahmadinejad - or one of his doppleganger's - be found next?
The December 2009 issue of Lobster, number 58, is now out.
This is the first issue to be published solely online, and it can be downloaded via the Lobster website here. I'm not a great one for reading theory, or indeed any serious writing of any length on a computer screen, so I must confess I will have to print it out and study it, but at least Lobster has carried on in some format.
The October/November issue of Red Pepper has an interesting essay by Alastair Crooke, entitled "Red Shi'ism, Iran and The Islamist Revolution". This is followed by two articles, critical of Crooke's views, especially in the light of events this year in Iran.
Crooke calls, in a sub-heading, for the left to develop a more nuanced and critical understanding of political Islam. He may well be right. What is more curious, and indeed disappointing, is that neither Red Pepper nor Crooke himself consider it worthwhile to inform readers that Alastair Crooke is a former MI6 officer. Indeed the influence he has had, and the opportunities he has had to speak to and with a succession of Shia leaders and organisations in the Middle East has been greatly facilitated by his own background.
Why he wishes to speak to 'the left' or considers it desireable for the left to adopt certain positions is unexplained. Surely it needs to be if Mr Crooke wishes to be heard?
After a two year hiatus, the UK's premier magazine of parapolitics is back!
The autumn 2009 Notes From The Boderland contains analysis of the BNP's success at the European elections, the need for a revised strategy by anti-fascists, and the first critique yet of Searchlight's Hope Not Hate operation.
Elsewhere a significant chunk of the magazine takes on the rise of 'truth' theories with both the 9/11 and 7/7 truth movements under the microscope. Two defectors from 9/11 'truth' - Louise Evans and Mick Meaney - give their first interview about their experiences inside the world of no-planers and no-brainers! I take the opportunity to analyse the group Make Wars History, which has emerged out of the car crash that was the UK and Ireland 9/11 Truth Movement, whilst Larry O'Hara sticks his teeth, bulldog style, into the scrawny backside of the 7/7 Truth Campaign. Oh yes!
As well as the usual book reviews, updates on past stories and potshots at the great and the not so good, we have the Anarchist Studies Network, Redwatch and 'journo-cop' David Rose all coming under the cosh. With something to entertain and infuriate just about everybody - a bargain at just £4. You can buy it here, whilst the magazine will also be avilable in the next few weeks from bookshops such as Housmans and Freedom in London, and some Borders stores.
Thanks to Pakistan Daily for drawing my attention to a forthcoming Channel 4 drama which compares contemporary Jihadist terrorism with historical Anarchist violence from the Victorian era.
According to Pakistan Daily, Channel 4 have ordered an "anti-Islamic Muslim 60 minute documentary". I can't quite imagine too many scripts have been floating around Channel 4 HQ with that exact wording on, but there you go.........
As so often with these cases, those getting most excited are those who do their own cause the most damage. Next to the above article on the Pakistan Daily website is a link to the video 'Zaid Hamid Uncensored 9/11' - the sort of denial and conspiracy nonsense about 9/11 that serves to raise more questions about Islam and rationality, rather than demolish them.
Yesterday evening Radio 4's File on 4 devoted forty minutes to the English Defence League and far right extremism.
A Game Of Two Halves
Urry got down to business straight away, with the sound recording switching from the noise of an English Defence League demonstration in Birmingham to the case of Reading's would be nazi bomber Neil Lewington, and the 'private warnings' of senior police officers that a terrorist spectacular could be carried out by a far-right extremist.
The inference was of course clear - that the EDL is a conduit for or could be linked to such activity. A big claim (if it were made directly) but not one backed up by evidence. A series of short interviews were conducted with regards to the EDL activity in Birmingham - Lisa Brooks of the EDL, Salma Yaqoob from Respect and West Midlands Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe. Somewhat amusingly Ms Rowe was sceptical about whether the EDL ever intended to protest in Birmingham that day. As her officers had most of their number trapped in a pub for many hours, she arguably played as big a role in that decision as the EDL!
Online Is Off Message
What was significant here was the degree to which both Asst Chief Constable Rowe and presenter Urry stressed that these were activities being organised on-line, and that although further arrests would follow regarding the violence in Birmingham (the Association of Chief Police Officer's National Public Order Intelligence Unit got a name check) that was not enough. Rowe went on to pose the question: Is the Public Order Act now sufficient, in the era of the Internet and the speed with which it allows people to organise? I suspect she, and ACPO already have an answer to that question.
Luton is a town with a comparatively long history of association with Islamic extremism (the 7/7 bombers, familiar with the town, met up there before heading into London to carry out their attacks in 2005), whilst media reports, from within and outside the Muslim community have stressed the presence of extremists in the town. Couple this with poor relations between Muslim and non-Muslim, and the town centre demonstration by an Al-Mujihiroun off-shoot against Briish soldiers, it is not surprising that Luton has emerged as one of the English Defence League's strongest areas.
Urry interviewed 'Wayne' a local EDL activist. Here it is hard not to scream frustration at the BBC. Wayne was clearly an intelligent, articulate man, yet Urry felt the need to tell us he had short hair and tattoos - information that was not given about anyone else featured during the programme. It is no use Urry speculating that the white working feels left out of political discourse or discriminated against, when he himself is repeating the offence!
Wayne was on weak ground when claiming his opposition was only to Islamic extremism (not something borne out by at least one EDL leaflet and several of its chants) but it was noticeable just how middle class many of the BBC criticisms of the EDL put forward were - they are not going about things 'the right way', they are 'not doing things properly'. The last time I heard an organisation spoken about in this manner was Fathers For Justice, and look how big they got......
Luton Council and Multiculturalism
Wayne took us on a little tour of Farley Hill Estate, and raised his objection to Luton Town taking 10 coaches of local Muslim children, for free, to Wembley last season for the Football League Trophy final. In a way this comment cuts to the heart of multiculturalism as it is currently practiced. Luton Town is uncomfortable about having a mostly white fan base when the ground is located in a largely Muslim area. Whether the fans themselves, or the local Muslim community is as concerned is not recorded, but the solution is to offer local Muslim kids a free ticket and coach trip, and to offer the kids in Farley Hill (of all colours) nothing.
When Urry put the issue of council funding with regards to local communites to Luton council's leader, she insisted that she did not like to talk in terms of white, black or Muslim communities. Neither do I, but coming from any politician, this is more than a bit rich. Is she going to say that to the local Muslim community at election time?
Next up was the governments Prevent strategy for opposing extremism, which seems to have pleased no one, but to have wasted millions of pounds. No wonder a government minister could not be found to go on the programme! A spokesman from the Bury Park Mosque and Islamic Centre discussed the attack on the mosque this summer. As is sometimes the case with racist attacks, here some irony was to be found - his was the only mosque in Luton that had already banned Al-Mujihiroun (although one wonders why the others had not?) Interestingly a significant degree of planning occured with that attack. The stolen car used in the petrol bombing, had been nicked some 9 months earlier..........
Edmund Standing has carried out some interesting research into the far-right and the Internet. His argument was a straight forward one - that the Internet has made groups on the Nazi fringe far more accessible. Groups like the Racial Volunteer Force and British People's Party can now be reached easily via google, and Nazi forums can even contain information on bomb making equipment. What worries me here is the subtext - clamp down on such websites, and the police will very soon be clamping down on websites that also get on their nerves, for example by promoting and reporting on direct action. Indymedia anyone?
In terrorism studies, arguably the most difficult person to both analyse and counter is the 'lone wolf'. This could be someone radicalised at home or on-line, who does not attend any far-right meetings, is not a member of any group, but is nuturing a strong hatred and desire to attack his perceived opponents.
Two talking heads from the Crown Prosecution Service were put forward to discuss Neil Lewington (who does fit the bill of the lone wolf) and Martyn Gilleard, who does not. Gilleard was a member of a well known fascist organisation, the British People's Party, and indeed one that is riddled with suspected and actual informers. The CPS rather weakened the thrust of the argument by even misnaming the BPP as the British Nazi Party - at least read your own scripts properly!
Earlier this year, Police Review reported on a conference stressing the dangers of the far-right, and in particular the far-right music scene. An un-named spokesman mentioned that the focus on Al Qaeda terrorism should not distract from other threats. We rather got to the meat of this dish only at the end of the programme, when we were informed of an ACPO conference where police had talked of 'knocking over' right wing extremists. Despite this, and concerns expressed to Urry by the Met about far-right terrorism, we were expected to believe the issue was 'so sensitive' ACPO would not put up a speaker. Oh please!
It now appears a given that the government will extent its countering extremism strategy to the neo-Nazi right. As a programme, this documentary failed to prove the English Defence League is a fascist organisation. I can't help thinking however that was not its intention. Its aim was to flag up the need for new laws - whether against the EDL itself, against certain websites, or against those organising demonstrations on-line. If history has taught us anything, it is that we should be suspicious of giving the state more power on any issue.
Be careful out there.
This post is a plug for the other blog that I edit, 9/11 Cultwatch.
The 9/11 Cultwatch blog takes a light hearted approach to exposing the dangers of the 9/11 'truth' movement, and also looks at one or two of its offshoots. In the UK, the 'truth' movement has already spawned a ginger headed stepson in the shape of the 7/7 truth movement. Had attacks such as the 2007 Piccadilly Circus bombing led to loss of life, or the planned attack on the Ministry of Sound, we would no doubt be treated to 'truth' theories about those incidents also.
In the US, some had expected the election of Barack Obama to dampen down 'truth' theories. Would the removal of Bush, Cheney and co from Washington pull the rug from under the 'truthers' feet? Instead they have shown an impressive ability to mutate, with 'truthers' joining with the flakier elements of the Republican right to become 'birthers'. A 'birther' is someone who campaigns on the basis that Barack Obama was not really born in the United States, and thus should not be allowed to be President. To see 'truthers' and racists campaigning together is hardly exceptional to anyone who has followed the 'truth' movement for some time, as 9/11 Cultwatch has.
Finally, information is welcome on 'truth' activity in your area. The 'truth' movement has a habit of attempting to ingratiate itself with a whole host of political currents - the dangers of which, for any campaign, should be obvious. Tell them to piss off, but do ensure you network with 9/11 Cultwatch so your good work is not in isolation.
Webster Griffin Tarpley, one of the main 9/11 'truth' activists, has reinvented himself in the post Bush era, as a 'birther' - that section of the US right that cannot accept Barack Obama is an American citizen.
Read my analysis of WGT's most recent UK media appearance here.
One depressing piece of news this summer has been the final print issue of Lobster.
In his editorial Robin Ramsay suggests future issues will either appear as part of a blog, or as an on-line magazine. He argues that the distinction between print and on-line media is no longer important, and that Lobster has in effect been overtaken by technology. Perhaps more importantly he comments "Producing Lobster has dominated my life for a long time now and I am just tired of doing it".
That's natural - Lobster has been going for some 25 years, and getting any publication out regularly (and Lobster was as regular as clockwork) is an incredible achievement. I disagree however with Robin Ramsay's elevation of Internet material as being on a par with printed materials. To put it quite simply - you cannot read theory on-line - at least not for any length of time. The best way to read is with a book, journal or magazine in your hand, without the distraction of a computer screen buzzing away in front of your line of vision.
Whilst there are a thousand and one advantages we have gained from the Internet, it has also encouraged what I would see as a rather shallow world, where people dip in, and dip out, of various issues, often procaliming themselves as experts without any direct personal experience, and without ever having sat down and truly read anything.
I rather liked the way that Lobster went against the grain. I hope it manages to do so again.
Issue 57 of Lobster is available from stores such as Housmans in Kings Cross, nationally from stores stocked by Central Books, and also from the Lobster website. It costs £4.
Well, what half the Balkans knew, and most parapolitical researchers long suspected, appears now to have been confirmed.
The Irish solicitor Pat Finucane was murdered at his home in Belfast.
Anyone who doubts that the British state would murder its perceived opponents should consider the following:
Who supplied the gun used to murder Pat Fiuncane?
RUC Special Branch agent William Stobie.
Who shot Pat Finucane?
RUC Special Branch agent Ken Barrett.
Who led the UDA, which claimed responsibility for the shooting?
RUC Special Branch agent Tommy Lyttle.
Who supplied the intelligence that led to the shooting?
Army intelligence agent Brian Nelson.
Oh - and the murder occurred less than a month after Home Office Minister Douglas Hogg complained in the Commons that some Northern Ireland solicitors were 'unduly sympathetic' to the IRA.
Just before Christmas the latest issue of the UK's oldest parapolitical magazine came out.
This post serves to remind visitors to this blog, that I am also involved in a second blog Project.
The Hackney Gazette letters page is once again the scene of a political tiff.
Well, Sadie has certainly come along way since those days of sweaty Anarchists staggering around punk gigs at the Acton Arms in Hackney, then rushing off for the last train back to Brighton!
One of the few ways George W Bush could leave office on a high would be if the US were to capture Osama Bin Laden.
I'm now four weeks into my PhD, comparing contemporary Islamist terrorism with historical Anarchist terrorism.
For those not in the know concerning Anarchist history, the period from approximately 1870 to roughly 1930 saw a series of attacks (and at times outrages) that led to Anarchists being seen as an international threat to the established order, in a way that Al Qaeda are arguably seen today.
The Italian Anarchist Luigi Galleani was briefly as feared in the United States as Osama Bin Laden has been in more recent years. In the period from 1892 to 1901 Anarchists managed to account for the heads (literally) of the heads of state in the US, France and Spain, yet within a generation Anarchist terrorism was little more than an historical curiosity.
Those tracing Islamist violence often begin with the Western sponsored campaign in Afghanistan from 1978, as the US allied with the Mujahideen to bring down the Soviet's puppet state. (And yes I did write 1978 deliberately, the US strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski has acknowledged America was interfering in Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion)
I personally consider Islamist terrorism has to be traced back to, at the very least, the worldwide Islamist resurgence that has been running since at least 1970 - on that at least, Samuel Huntingdon is probably correct. Some, travelling through the historical works of the Egyptian Brotherhood, the Deobandis or the Wahhabis, would go back even further.
So its three long years of reading books about men with beards for me. I welcome comments, cuttings and criticism on my research areas from any visitors to this blog. As I begin my studies, the October 2008 issue of Terrorism and Political Violence has run an article by James L Gelvin that "situates Al Qaeda and similar jihadi movements within the category of Anarchism".
I can't quite imagine Luigi Galleani and Osama Bin Laden sharing a glass of Peroni together, but given the sheer volume of books and articles on Al Qaeda that are out there, I guess something along these lines was inevitable..........
Congratulations to Stephen Schwartz and Irfan Al-Alawi of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism.
Their Spectator article of 27 September 2008 is the first I am aware of calling for Western military intervention, not in Iran, but in .......... Pakistan.
I guess that really is the 'nuclear option' for Bush/Obama/McCain in the next 12 months.
Be afraid, be very afraid.............
What a strange dish ITV1 served up last night with its examination of Colin Ireland, a serial killer who targetted gay men.
Usually such programmes are little more than puff pieces for the police force involved in the inquiry. Given the scale of policing disasters in this instance that was hardly possible.
Ireland was caught, ultimately by CCTV evidence, in an era when this was a new method of capturing murder suspects. This issue was touched upon, but not tackled in any detail. What was odder however, were the issues left out of the programme.
Ireland's alleged far-right involvement was not mentioned at all. How unusual is it for a documentary to miss out on the chance to add 'Nazi-killer' to the mix? More seriously how you can run an hour long programme about a man picking up gays in London bars, going back to their homes, tying them up and robbing them, and not debate the issue of the killers sexuality? Ths was at best bizarre, at worst a dereliction of investigative journalism.
It does not take a genius to suspect that Ireland was wrestling with his own sexuality, and that at least some of the anger he felt towards gay men derived from this. "Real Crime: Serial Killer on Camera" was ultimately a shallow examination of a major cime.
As the 'truth' movement's September big push stumbles, it is time to remind ourselves of the dangers of the 9/11 'truth' movement.
This press release looks to rally the forces of those appalled at the often unopposed rise of 'truth' ideologies.
I spent three days last week at the Anarchist Studies network conference at Loughborough University. And pretty good it was too.
Given the need to confront and isolate the 9/11 'truth' movement I spoke on both Thursday and Saturday. Issues covered included 9/11 truth and the ummah (the Muslim world), 9/11 truth and anti-Semitism, and finally the offshoots of the truth movement, in particular the 7/7 'truth' movement.
You can download a copy of my paper here. Comments are welcome.
Fans of tabloid tittle tattle will have lapped up the latest developments in the Max Mosley case.
Milton Keynes dominatrix Mistress Abi, who failed to appear for the News of the World at Mosley's libel trial due to 'stress' has made a remarkable recovery. Having only been paid half the £25,000 that the News of the World promised her to set Mosley up, another section of the Murdoch empire has stepped forward to make good her loss. As I digested my porridge this morning I was able to watch Kay Burley and Mistress Abi discuss the ins and outs of dominating men for money, although the latter now seems to be calling herself Michelle.
Given the spook and high level police involvement in this case, I suspect more lies behind it than we have seen.
Mistress Abi's husband was a surveillance officer for MI5. Given Mosley's family background, his own (brief) involvement in far right politics when younger, and his international status it is inconceivable the security services did not have several bulky files about him. Upon exposure, Mosley quickly hired private detectives, from a company associated with ex-Met Chief Sir John Stephens, to unravel the News of the World's case. The career of Mistress Abi's husband soon ended.
In the world of Grand Prix politics, Mosley received strong support from some countries (and especially from Arab figures) and far less support from closer to home. Whether the motivations behind this scam lie in the Grand Prix world , or in international affairs, is the big question that remains unanswered.
Lobster is the UK's longest running parapolitical magazine, perhaps even the English speaking world's oldest such publication.
I have been reading it now for over 15 years, and it that time it has changed little. The production values are neat but basic, pictures are virtually unknown and if the editor, Robin Ramsay has forgotten a particular detail or fact, he openly says so. How unusual is that!
Something For Everyone
Lobster is extremely diverse. Whilst critiques of new Labour and US influence in the UK are staples, recent issues have covered everything from conspiracy theories about Princess Diana, to spook public relations and the relationship between Blair and Berlusconi.
Ramsay is perhaps unusual on the British left for wishing to talk about and tackle economics. This is a subject that for many progressives is a bit like taking up jogging or decorating the spare room - it seems a good idea, but is something that never quite seems to happen. In stressing the dangers of a political economy so dominated by the city's perceived interests, Ramsay is nowadays a lone voice.
Lobster has its weaknesses. It is sometimes more comfortable in the past than the present, and has been all over the place on the issue of 9/11 and the 9/11 'truth' movement. Given the danger such theories arguably present to those actually carrying out serious parapolitical research, that is, to me, a significant mistake. It is not however likely to be terminal - Lobster's approach is, by and large, too evidence based for the magazine ever to be adopted by conspiraloons.
So - What of the Current Issue?
In covering the life of Sir James Goldsmith, Simon Matthews gives an insight into the history of Green politics in this country that I was unaware of. When Zack Goldsmith is David Cameron's Environment Secretary it will be entirely consistent with the background of British ecology.
Roger Cottrell, who manages to combine self-asserted Marxism with a rabid anti-Irish Republicanism - and yes I mean rabid - ostensibly looks at the concept of a "government of all the talents". Much of this seems however to be related back to Northern Ireland, which you suspect is what he really wants to write about. Curious.
Tom Easton takes us through the incestuous world of the British media (it is hard to read this piece without shouting out 'Andrew Marr is a Cunt') whilst Tim Pendry's examination of political decline and denial is authoritative. You are left with the feeling that - at worst, dark days are head. At best - we have only more muddle and self-delusion to look forward to.
All this - and a lot more - for £3. You can buy Lobster at several major bookshops in London (Housmans and Borders for two) and also order it on-line here.
Socialist politics attracts more than its fair share of oddballs.
Few are as odd as south London's Terry Liddle, who was meandered in and out of countless political groups over the past four decades, as well as promoting the attempted 'Anarchist Heretics' bookfair, an attempt to bring far-right politics into the Anarchist movement. His ex-wife, Daphne Liddle, is best known for working as a photographer for Searchlight, an 'anti-fascist' magazine with admitted links to the police and security services.
Flicking through the New Worker recently I spotted Mr Liddle holding forth on the death of John Lennon:
"His murder remains a mystery. Was it the work of a lone lunatic or did the state have a hand in it?"
When the Liddles are discussing the secret state, I suspect I am not alone in struggling to suppress my mirth.........
Wearing my 9/11 Cultwatch hat, I am featured this evening on Wolverhampton's Community radio station, discussing 9/11 'truth' theories.
"A Cynic's Guide To 9/11 Conspiracy Theories" will be broadcast as part of the first edition of The Wolverhampton Radiophonic Institute on (Friday 13th June). The seventeen minute documentary will go out just after 9pm, with a studio discussion taking place afterwards.
The Wolverhampton Radiophonic Institute starts at 7pm, and can be heard on 101.8 FM in Wolverhampton, and at wcrfm.com everywhere else, and will cover everything from politics to music, with interviews, debates and documentaries.
I took the pictures below on Essex Road in Islington in February.
The vehicle concerned was not monitoring a bus lane, and it was a good three quarters of a mile south of the congestion zone. The van, which appears to be registered to Capita, was solely concerned with monitoring people and vehicles as they went about their business.
Since then I have seen the vehicle just passed Whipps Cross Hospital, again randomly monitoring passers by.
It does not make me feel any safer, but its a nice little earner, no doubt at public expense, for Capita.
The March issue of Eye Spy magazine has rather pulled a fast one with regards to ex-MI6 man Richard Tomlinson.
Tomlinson is perhaps best known for his observation that he was aware of an MI6 plot to kill a major political figure in the Balkans, based on the use of a blinding light in a tunnel. This would appear to have similarities to the manner some people suggest Princess Diana's car was forced to crash in Paris in 1997.
On its contents page Eye Spy comments:
"Former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson gives evidence at the Diana Inquest - and admits he was wrong about the plot".
That is a very clear statement, but not one backed up by the content of the article on page 46 of the magazine. There we are told that Tomlinson had instead admitted that Slobodan Milosevic may not have been the intended victim of an MI6 assassination plot he became aware of whilst in the service (I was not aware he had ever been insistent it was Milosevic)
Eye Spy then adds that Tomlinson also admitted the plot may not have involved the use of a bright light, before paradoxically adding "An unnamed MI6 officer, referred to as 'A', conceded he was the creator of the "bright light plan".
I do not follow how these revelations are supposed to undermine Tomlinson's long-term hypothesis, and it certainly does not appear to back-up Eye Spy's view that Tomlinson had admitted he was 'wrong' about such a plot. Indeed even Eye Spy has to recognise Tomlinson's core point - that MI6 was willing to consider the assassination of a major European politician to obtain its perceived aims.
I am not sure why Eye Spy is so keen to do down Tomlinson, but he certainly does not seem to be getting the rub of the green from them in this instance.
Over the past few months I have had some interesting correspondence with the Kersplebedeb group in Quebec. They are planning a major two part book in 2008 on the German Red Army Faction, a political group that has always fascinated me, as much as an example of how not to struggle as anything.
In the run up to the book they have collated a series of RAF related articles, documents and communiques, many of which I have certainly not seen in English before. The German Guerilla website can be viewed here.
One of the most fascinating publications on the political fringe is Heritage and Destiny, published by the Lancashire based fascists of the England First Party.
What is remarkable about Heritage and Destiny, and indeed the EFP, is the huge number of peope in its ranks who have been expelled from other far-right organisations for being agents provocateurs, or have jumped from such groups before they were pushed.
This list is headed by EFP activist Peter Rushton, expelled from the BNP for working with the 'anti-fascist' magazine Searchlight, and Heritage and Destiny Editor Mark Cotterill, who managed to scuttle Nick Griffin's 'American Friends of the BNP' operation, before heading back to the UK with a welter of accusations flying around his ears. Step down a rung in this milieu and you are still tripping over spooks - it was interesting to spot Alan Winder, late of a very fishy attempt to set up a British KKK, hamming it up recently in the pages of Heritage and Destiny.
The political line in H&D is at least consistent. It concentrates on transparent shit stirring in the BNP. If the BNP were marching round waving swatstikas, they would complain it was too extreme. When the BNP denies it is a fascist party and tries to paint itself as a moderate nationalist party, they complain it is not extreme enough.
Issue 30 contains a great editorial from Mr Cotterill himself. In the September 2007 copy of the BNP's Identity magazine, a somewhat short-tempered Nick Griffin made the bizarre claim that Searchlight editor Nick Lowles, and Heritage and Destiny deputy editor Peter Rushton are one and the same person. Cotterill not surprisingly spotted an open goal:
"Several nationalists known to Mr Griffin have seen photographs of Nick Lowles, who has spoken to numerous public meetings. It is quite clear that he is not the same person as our assistant editor."
He is of course right, although saying something is so is not the same as proving it so.
But there is one simple way to sort the issue out once and for all. Heritage and Destiny could of course publish one of these pictures of Nick Lowles, who is (ostensibly at least) a political opponent of theirs. What's the betting that even if they had a pile of pictures of Mr Lowles, they would never publish any of them until he had been exposed elsewhere?
I had the 'honour' of attending yesterdays London talk by one of the leaders of the US 9/11 'Truth' Movement, Webster Griffin Tarpley.
You can read a report of his extremely dubious historical analysis here.
I spent yesterday evening in Lincolns Inn Fields, listening to the launch of Nafeez Ahmed's Parliamentary Briefing paper on the 7/7 bomb attacks.
The government position - of four "clean skin" bombers has now unravelled completely, and an interesting panel joined Ahmed to press for a public inquiry into the attacks.
If you have come to this site looking for coverage of David Shayler's bizarre collapse into full 'David Icke messiah' mode, I have placed it all on the 9/11 Cultwatch blog.
You can view comment, replies from 9/11 cult members and a video of Shayler in action here.
“Action! Race War To Door Wars - A Life Lived On The Edge” by Joe Owens (£9.99, Lulu, 2007)
The British far-right has not produced much in the way of significant memoirs or appraisals. Astonishingly Nick Griffin failed to follow up his court victory with either a book covering his trial, or an autobiography. Has a British politician ever had such a platform, then failed to build upon it? Anti-fascists everywhere should be grateful for Griffin’s idleness.
Looking at my own bookshelves, veteran fascist John Bean’s “Many Shades of Black” was rather flat, and suffered from the authors need to play down parts of his past, to be accepted as the loyal Griffinite he now is. Anyway, you can’t take a man seriously who wears a syrup!
Of the other memoirs I have read two particularly disappointed me. Knightsbridge Safe Deposit robber Valerio Viccei tells us nothing about his time as a fascist gunman in Italy during the ‘years of lead’, in his “Too Fast To Live” but much about his criminal career in England. As he was to be murdered by Italian police not long after he left the UK, he will never get the chance now.
Burnley man Andrew Porter tells us a lot about Burnley FC’s Suicide Squad in his memoirs, but little of detail about racial division and fascism in east Lancashire. Given he was jailed for 3 years after the 2001 riots, I had expected more. And of course Martin Webster’s “Rum, Sodomy and the Fash” is yet to appear (sorry I made that one up).
The new issue of the UK's premier parapolitical magazine is published today!
What do you get for your £3.50? The lead article is an assessment of the career of ex-MI5 Chief Eliza Manningham-Buller. Awkward questions are raised about the Redwatch website, whilst the latest news from the world of the 9/11 "Truth" movement is discussed. Being the 10th year of NFB, a retrospective was in order, but the opportunity is also taken to give updates on several earlier stories, from dodgy Donal Macintyre through to the curious case of the BNP's Tony Lecomber soliciting murder, and very little being said or done about it. Who's pulling Tony's strings?
You can buy NFB in several major bookstores now, or order direct from the publisher here.